Torrance, California – Honda has released details regarding its new small hybrid, scheduled for introduction in early 2009. The announcement was made as part of the mid-year address by Takeo Fukui, CEO of Honda Motor Company. An official name and full product details will be outlined later this year.
Fukui said that in addition to weight reduction, a significant cost reduction in Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) components will result in the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date. It will be offered as a four-door hatchback, with seating for five passengers, with styling similar to that of the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle. The new hybrid will be produced, along with the Civic Hybrid, at an expanded IMA production line at Honda’s Suzuka factory in Japan.
The new vehicle will have expected annual global sales of 200,000 units per year, with approximately half of them bound for the North American market. Following the launch, Honda also plans to introduce another small hybrid based on the CR-Z sports car first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, as well as a Fit hybrid model. Including the Civic Hybrid, these four vehicles are expected to reach combined annual global sales of approximately 500,000 units.
“Honda has been at the forefront of hybrid development since it first introduced the American public to hybrid technology with the Insight in 1999,” said John Mendel, executive vice-president of American Honda. “These new advancements in Honda’s technology and production systems will result in cost reductions that will allow us to make hybrid technology available to a whole new generation of buyers.”